Curtiss P-40 Warhawk, 1943

Is this a photo of Curtiss P-40 Warhawk airplane taken in 1943?

RCAF P-40E – Rudy Frasca

This photo was probably taken somewhere between 1990-2000. That is a former Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) P-40E airplane owned by Rudy Frasca since 1979. Rudy Frasca is a founder of Frasca International (est. 1958). This company is known for their flight simulator products.

You can find a painting of this plane flying over Alaska in the fall of 1942 while it was still in service (RFAF identifier 1052). Note that the aircraft paintwork is different than in the photograph.

The original image was a color photograph which was published on the cover of the Air and Space magazine in 2000. Someone simply made a black and white version of it and claimed it was taken in 1943.

This plane didn’t participate in war missions. You can find a record indicating that this plane joined the RCAF 111 Squadron in November 1941. According to records, plane 1052 “wasn’t used much, under repair a lot”.

This plane also appeared in Steven Spielberg’s movie 1941 (premiered in 1979). Below is a short clip from the movie where late John Belushi fuels the plane. Note: the paintwork of the plane is still not similar to the one in the photograph.

By the late 1980s, the plane’s paintwork was remade. Below is a photograph of the plane from one airplane magazine.

P-40E Warhawk/Kittyhawk (NX40PE)
P-40E Warhawk/Kittyhawk (NX40PE) by D. Miller / Flickr

It’s a great photo of a great airplane, but the photo wasn’t taken in 1943 and the plane’s current paintwork was done in 1980s.

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